Herbert W Armstrong Library
Sign In  |  MyHWA  |    
Twelve Reasons Why Jesus' Trial Was ILLEGAL - Part II
Plain Truth Magazine
September 1959
Volume: Vol XXIV, No.9
QR Code
Twelve Reasons Why Jesus' Trial Was ILLEGAL - Part II
Herman L Hoeh   
Church of God

Born: 1928
Died: November 24, 2004
Ambassador College: 1947
Ordained: December 20, 1952
Office: Evangelist

A Communist conspiracy is afoot today to prove that Jesus was legally crucified! It is time you became aware of what really happened at Jesus' trial!

Part II
   In the previous issue the shocking events the arrest of Jesus.
   We also discovered that many prominent writers have been unconsciously influenced by Communist propaganda into believing that Jesus' arrest, his trial and conviction were legal and just!
   We learned the Jewish point of view and the devious means by which they try to deny that their own religious leaders bribed Judas to betray Jesus!

First Four Reasons Summarized

   Then we learned the first four reasons why Jesus' arrest and trial were absolutely illegal.
   First, Jesus was arrested, illegally. He was arrested secretly, by night, on no formal charge of any crime, by those who were to be His judges.
   Second, Jesus was illegally subjected to a secret preliminary examination by night, contrary to Jewish law.
   Third, the indictment against Jesus was illegal because the judges themselves brought up a false and secret charge against Jesus without any prior testimony by witnesses.
   Fourth, the trial of Jesus began illegally before sunrise in order that no one could testify on Jesus' behalf.
   Now to continue with the second installment:

Fifth Reason

   In the case of Jesus, the Sanhedrin was illegally convened to try a capital offense on a day before An annual Sabbath,
   Notice why: "They shall not judge on the eve of the Sabbath, nor on any festival," says the Mishna, "Sanhedrin" IV, 1. In Wise's Martyrdom of Jesus, page 67, we read the following conclusive evidence: "No court of justice in Israel was permitted to hold sessions on the Sabbath or on any of the seven Biblical Holy Days. In cases of capital crime, no trial could be commenced on Friday or the day previous to any Holy Day, because it was not lawful either to adjourn such cases longer than over night, or to continue them on the Sabbath or Holy Day."
   The Jews even violated their law by arresting Jesus on the day before an annual Sabbath. They arrested Him on Wednesday in 31 A.D.; the annual Sabbath was Thursday.

Sixth Reason

   The trial of Jesus was illegal because it was concluded, in one day.
   We read from Jewish law: "A criminal case resulting in the acquittal of the accused may terminate the same day on which the trial began. But if a sentence of death is to be pronounced, it cannot be concluded before the following day" (Mishna, "Sanhedrin" IV, 1). This was to allow sufficient opportunity for any witnesses in support of the accused to present themselves.
   The Jews did not want to allow Jesus this opportunity.

Seventh Reason

   The sentence against Jesus was illegally pronounced by the Sanhedrin because it was founded, upon Jesus' uncorroborated, statement. The Jewish Court pronounced sentence on Jesus with no supporting evidence whatever!
   Consider! The only evidence presented by witnesses to the Court was given by two false witnesses. But their testimony was not even used, by the Court in sentencing Jesus to death. Here is what happened.
   The Jews obtained two false witnesses who testified that Jesus said, "I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days, I'll build another made without hands" (Mark 14:58).
   The Jews used this statement as an indictment against Jesus. But this piece of evidence was not what Jesus said. He never said the words "that is made with hands." Jesus was not referring to the physical temple erected by human hands, but to His body (John 2:19, 21) which would be raised in three days.
   Then "the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell as whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God" (Matthew 25:62).
   The question the High Priest asked Jesus had nothing to do with the indictment! Jesus was indicted on the false charge that He would destroy the physical temple, and rebuild it in three days' time.
   But they condemned Him on another matter altogether. Notice! They asked, "Tell us plainly if you are Christ, the Son of God?"
   "Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy. What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death."
   Do you see how quickly the trial was over? Upon the sole testimony of the One who was being tried, the judge said: "What do we need of any more witnesses? What do you all say?" The jury responded: "He's guilty."
   Jesus was indicted on one charge, tried on another, and condemned on His own testimony without any witnesses!
   Jesus was not condemned because He said, "Within three days I will build this temple." He was condemned on the false charge of blasphemy!
   Here is what Maimonides wrote in his book, Sanhedrin IX, 2, "We have it as a fundamental principle of our jurisprudence, that no one can bring an accusation against himself. Should a man make confession of guilt before a legally constituted tribunal, such confession is not to be used against him unless properly attested by two other witnesses" ("Sanhedrin" IV, 2).
   Notice what the high priest said: "What further need have we of witnesses?"
   Jesus was condemned on His own testimony, even though His testimony was not proved, blasphemous!
   The Jews didn't even examine Him according to the law to see whether His statement was blasphemy! They only demanded: "Are you the Son of God?" And He responded: "You're going to see the son of man seated at the right hand of power and coming in the clouds of heaven..."
   Was this blasphemy? Of course not! Jesus did not even refer directly to Himself. He merely said "the son of man." The Jewish Court did not seek to prove who the "son of man" was.
   They knew, of course, that Jesus meant Himself. For all through His ministry, they came and purred in front of Him, and asked, "How long dost thou make us to doubt? If you be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not" (John 10:24, 25). What hypocrites they were!
   But as soon as Jesus even gave an indirect statement at the trial, they did not doubt whom He meant by the "son of man"!
   On this testimony Jesus was condemned.
   Even Mr. Radin admits that Jesus' testimony was not blasphemy. On pages 248 and 249 he says: "The 'blasphemy' which the Pentateuch mentions is a literal cursing of God or a direct defiance of him. The only pentateuchal reference makes this clear. It is in Leviticus, chapter 24, and the incident which gave rise to the statute indicates the character of the offense of blasphemy in Jewish law. The half-Egyptian had cursed God the Israelitish God as under the circumstances of the quarrel there described he would have been likely enough to do. No such thing could, have been charged, against Jesus by his most inveterate enemies,"
   Yet the Jewish religious leaders did this very thing!
   Now consider another violation of Jewish law in extracting this testimony from Jesus: "No attempt is ever made to lead a man on to self-incrimination. Moreover, a voluntary confession on his part [on the defendant] is not admitted in evidence, and therefore not competent to convict him, unless a legal number of witnesses minutely corroborate his self-accusation." (Mendelsohn, Criminal Jurisprudence of the Ancient Hebrews, page 133.)

Eighth Reason

   The condemnation of Jesus was illegal because the merits of the defense were not considered.
   When they heard Jesus' statement, the high priest shouted: "He blasphemes." But the law in Deuteronomy 13:14 says, "Then shalt thou inquire, and make search, and ask diligently."
   The Jewish law in the Mishna says: "The judges shall weigh the matter in the sincerity of their conscience" ("Sanhedrin" IV, 5).

Ninth Reason

   The condemnation of Jesus BY PART OF THE SANHEDRIN was illegal because those who would, have voted, against the condemnation of Jesus were not there!
   Notice what took place at Jesus' trial before dawn according to Mark 14:64 "You have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they ALL condemned him to be guilty of death." It was unanimous. There was no investigation, no examination, to see if He did or did not blaspheme. They just used His testimony against Him without any proof without any witnesses. They all did it immediately, instantaneously, simultaneously, It was mob spirit that condemned Jesus!
   Here is what Mendelsohn states of such a procedure: "A simultaneous and, unanimous verdict of guilt rendered, on the day of the trial has the effect of an acquittal."
   The verdict against Jesus was simultaneous and unanimous, although the Jewish law required at least one of the Council to serve as a defense counsel
   The proper method of voting was to have "the judges each in his tarn absolve or condemn" (Mishna, "Sanhedrin" XV 5). "The members of the Sanhedrin were seated in the form of a semicircle at the extremity of which a secretary was placed, whose business it was to record the votes. One of these secretaries recorded the votes in favor of the accused, the other against him," states the Mishna, "Sanhedrin" IV, 3.
   "In ordinary cases the judges voted according to seniority, the oldest commencing; in a capital case, the reverse order was followed. That the younger members of the Sanhedrin should not be influenced by the views or the arguments of their more mature, more experienced colleagues, the junior judge was in these cases always the first to pronounce for or against conviction," says Benny, in Criminal Code of the Jews, pages 73-74.
   Furthermore the high priest rent or tore his clothes at the trial (Mark 14:63 and Matthew 26:65).
   In Leviticus 10:6 and 21:10 the high priest is forbidden to do so. "And he that is the high priest among his brethren, upon whose head the anointing oil was poured, and that is consecrated to put on the garments, shall not uncover his head, nor rend his clothes," They tore their outer garment to stir up emotion, to prejudice others.
   The high priest should have remained calm so that no mistake in judgment would be made.
   In Jesus' trial none of these requirements were followed.
   Let Wise's book, Martyrdom of Jews, page 7 4, explain the law on this point: "If none of the judges defend the culprit, i.e., all pronounce him guilty, having no defender in the court, the verdict guilty, was invalid, and the sentence of death could not be executed."
   Yet Jesus was executed contrary to the law!
   Now notice which members of the Sanhedrin were missing during the trial. Take the case of Joseph of Arimathaea. After Jesus was crucified, we read from Luke 23:50: "And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just" the word "counsellor" is admitted by all hands to represent a member of the Sanhedrin. "The same had not consented, to the counsel and deed of them" and neither had Nicodemus.
   In Mark's account we learn that ALL those present condemned Jesus instantaneously and unanimously. But since the night meeting was illegal, Joseph of Arimathaea was not present. The Jews wanted to make sure he could not defend Jesus.
   Think of the utter lack of any fairness in this trial!

Tenth Reason

   The sentence against Jesus was pronounced, in a place forbidden by law. After the mob seized Christ, they led Him away, after having been at Annas', and brought Him into Caiaphas, the high priest's, house. The trial of Jesus wasn't held in court! Read Luke 22:54: "And they seized him, and led him away, and, brought him into the high priest's house."
   The court building wasn't legally to be opened until after sunrise.
   According to Jewish law, "A sentence of death can be pronounced only so long as the Sanhed.rin holds its sessions in the appointed, place," says Maimonides, in his book, Section XIV.
   The Talmud says: "After leaving the hall Gazith (the court) no sentence of death can be passed upon anyone so-ever," (From Bab. Talmud, "Abodah Tarath" or "Of Idolatry," Ch. 1, fol. 8.)
   A sentence of death may be passed only in a legal court, not in some private home, as the Jews were doing.

Eleventh Reason

   Most Sanhedrin members themselves were legally disqualified to try Jesus.
   According to Mendelsohn, Hebrew Maxims and Rules, page 182, "The robe of the unfairly elected judge is to be respected not more than the blanket of the ass."
   Some of the judges were elected unfairly. We have the names from the Bible and from Josephus of most of the men who were on the Sanhedrin at the time of Christ. Such men as Caiaphas, Eleazar, Jonathon, Theolphilus, Mathias, Ishmael, Simon, John, Alexander, Ananias and many others were, according to Josephus, recipients of bribes, appointed by members of the family who themselves had no right to sit on it, bought their offices, and were disrespected by their people. There were 12 ex-high priests living at this one time, all part of the Sanhedrin. The Bible expressly requires a man to be high priest throughout his lifetime, at the end of which another took his place. But the Jews permitted high priests to be voted into office year by year. The whole official arrangement the whole choice of offices was wrong.
   But there was another reason which disqualified almost all Christ's judges. It is this: "Nor must there be on the judicial bench either a relation, or a particular friend, or an enemy of either the accused or the accuser," writes Mendelsohn, page 108.
   Many of the judges were Jesus' enemies. They even paid bribe money to betray Him.
   In Benny's work, Criminal Code of the Jews, page 37, this surprising statement is found: "Nor under any circumstances was a man known to be at enmity with the accused, person permitted to occupy a position among his judges." Everybody knew that the Sadducees and Pharisees were at outs with Jesus. Yet they were permitted to try Him.

Twelfth Reason

   The Jewish Court illegally switched the charges against Jesus from blasphemy to sedition and treason before Pilate. Observe how it was done!
   The next step in Jesus' trial was to take Him to the legal court for a mock, private trial at sunrise.
   "And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people and the chief priests and the scribes came together, and led him into their council" now that they had already condemned Him of blasphemy, they are going to take Him to court for a mock trial! "saying, Art thou the Christ? tell us."
   Notice that they are repeating the same questions over again.
   "And he [Jesus] said unto them, If I tell you, ye will not believe: and if I also ask you, ye will not answer me, nor let me go. Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God."
   They had to make this trial look legal. So they all said, "Art thou then the Son of God? And he said unto them, Ye say that I am. And they said, What need we any further witness? for we ourselves have heard of his own mouth. And the whole multitude of them arose, and led him unto Pilate" (Luke 22:66-71 and 23:1).
   This meeting probably didn't last any more than two minutes! Now their trial, which was illegally conducted in the private home of Caiaphas, was now outwardly legalized. But instead of taking Jesus out to be stoned for blasphemy, they switched the charges after the Court was dismissed! They took Him to Pilate, and here is what we read in John 18:28: "Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover." The Judaeans were eating the Passover on an improper day, one day late as they still do today.
   "Pilate then went out unto them, and said, What accusation bring ye against this man? They answered and said unto him, If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee. Then said Pilate unto them, Take ye him, and, judge him according to your law" (John 18:31). Pilate was difficult to convince. He didn't want to be bothered at this hour in the morning. But the Jews replied: "It is not lawful for us to put any man to death." Why wasn't it lawful? Let Luke give the surprising answer:
   "And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ a King" (Luke 23:2).
   Notice that the Jews did not charge Jesus with blasphemy. Had they done so, Pilate would have told the Jews not to bother him, but to execute Christ according to their own law by stoning. The Jewish leaders were afraid of their own people! So they trumped up other and new charges against Jesus before Pilate.
   Pilate now had reason to be surprised. The only cases for which the Jews could not try a man involved sedition or treason. "Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews?"
   Jesus said, "Did others tell it thee of me? Pilate answered, Am I a Jew?" He didn't like the Jews, did he? "Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done? Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants [the disciples], fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence" not of this time, not of this world order.
   "Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. Pilate saith unto him, What is truth?" (John 18:33-38.) Jesus didn't even answer that.

Pilate Finds Jesus Innocent

   "And when he had said this, he [Pilate] went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find, in him no fault at all."
   When Pilate heard that Jesus was from Galilee, he told the Jews to take Him to Herod (Luke 23:6-7). "And as soon as he knew that he belonged unto Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who himself also was at Jerusalem at that time" for the Passover. After an interview with Jesus, Herod sent Him back to Pilate. To frighten the Roman governor, the Jews stirred up the mob outside.
   Pilate began to see there was trouble brewing. He had a mob on his hands.
   This was trial by mob rule! So Pilate took Jesus, terribly scourged Him, let the soldiers plait on Him a crown of thorns and array Him in purple.
   Pilate brought Jesus out again and shouted to the mob: "Behold, I bring him forth to you, that you may know that I find no fault in him."
   "When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate said unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him."
   The Jews answered and said, "We have a law, and by the law he ought to die" and now for the first time they reveal to Pilate why they condemned Him "because he made himself the Son of God" (John 19:7). They were getting very angry!
   Pilate became frightened. He didn't want to have anything happen for which he would be held responsible by the Roman gods! Upon this, Pilate definitely sought to release him (John 19:12),for there were no witnesses whatever in this trial before Pilate. The Jews had commenced accusing Jesus without proof, without witnesses, without testimony.
   Then the ignorant mob cried out: "If you release this man, you're not Caesar's friend." They were threatening Pilate with loss of his office. Matthew 27:24 picks the story up: "When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: SEE YE TO IT."
   The ignorant mob of Jews responded: "His blood be on us, and on our children." What they were really saying is, "We accept wholly, fully, the responsibility for His execution, only you execute Him. We don't want to stone Him; we want you to execute Him."
   Then Pilate "scourged Jesus, [and] delivered him to be crucified." The purpose of scourging was to prepare a criminal for death.
   But notice Pilate did not even give a formal decision against Jesus Christ. He just turned Him over to the soldiers to do what the Jewish mob wanted.

Jesus Deliberately Crucified Though Found Innocent

   That is where the trial of Jesus abruptly broke off. No justice here! An innocent man condemned by mob violence! The dastardly act of crucifixion followed. Yet some would still falsely claim, in the face of all this evidence, that Jesus' trial was legal, and His crucifixion justified!
   Most of us have never really examined the trial of Jesus before. Just look at this trial. What a mockery of justice it was! Can you imagine what it would be like if you had been on trial, to be spitefully treated as these thrill-seeking soldiers treated Jesus? What consideration, what fairness would have been given you?
   All this suffering Jesus endured to pay the penalty of. sin for you! Yet not you only, but to pay the penalty of the sins of the WHOLE WORLD. It is time you personally were made to look at the last hours of Jesus in mortal flesh to see what a miscarriage of justice led up to the crucifixion what a mockery was made of trial; and to understand the 12 reasons why the conviction of Jesus was an utter fraud all voluntarily endured by Christ to pay the penalty of your sin in your stead!

Back To Top

Plain Truth MagazineSeptember 1959Vol XXIV, No.9
|  Fundamental Doctrines of the Church of God  |  Comments or Suggestions?  |  FAQ  |   Holy Day Information   |   Site Map   |   Donations   |
|  Sabbath & Holy Day Services   |   Weekly Bible Study Services   |   Video Groups   |
Follow Us: HWALibrary - Mobile Site
Copyright © 2016 Herbert W Armstrong Library
Important Notice

Please Note:

The address and phone number for the Worldwide Church of God given for material are no longer valid for obtaining the material offered in booklets, magazines, telecast and radio broadcast.

HWALibrary.com has all material offered on this site 100% free. You do not need to call or mail your requests, simply do a search for the material offered on our site.

The Worldwide Church of God dissolved after Mr. Armstrong's death in January 1986.

Visit our FAQ page for instructions on downloading audio and video files.

Sabbath Services

Sabbath Services:

Hello, and welcome to our Sabbath and Holy Day service tab. The services provided are selected from the recorded library of this website HWALibrary.com.

Services are posted every Sabbath or Holy Day. Our service consists of 3 hymns, a Sermonette, a hymn, the Sermon and a final hymn.

Continue to the Sabbath Service page.

Bible Study Services

Bible Study:

Hello, and welcome to our Bible Study service tab. The services provided are selected from the recorded library of this website HWALibrary.com.

Bible Study services are posted each Wednesday. Our service consists of an opening hymn, a Bible Study and a final hymn.

Continue to the Bible Study Service page.